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ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has warned that prices will continue to rise and are expected to remain on the higher side in Pakistan.

The bank in its latest, “Food Security Update,” noted that in April 2023, year-on-year consumer price inflation for food prices was highest in Pakistan in South Asia with 48.1 per cent, 4.2 percent in India, 8.8 per cent in Bangladesh, 6.9 per cent in Nepal, and 27.1 per cent in Sri Lanka.

The bank stated that there is no uniform government wheat support price this year, with the federal and Punjab provincial governments having increased the wheat support price for the 2023/24 crop to Rs3,900 per 40 kilograms ($346 per metric ton), while Sindh government set the price at Rs4,000 per 40 kilograms ($354 per metric tons).

Free wheat flour was distributed during Ramadan to 185,000 families in the federal capital and to households in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (10.7 million households) and Punjab (15.8 million households). In Sindh province, low-income families were facilitated to purchase 30kg bag of wheat flour at the subsidised rate of Rs65 per kg, it added.

With the exception of Pakistan (flooding), rice yields in Asia have been generally at or above year-ago levels, but if shortages of fertiliser components persist into the new crop year, yields could be affected, the bank added.

The Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Syria are of very high concern.

All these hotspots have many people in IPC/CH Phase 4, coupled with worsening drivers that are expected to intensify life-threatening conditions in the coming months. Guatemala, Honduras, and Malawi remain of high concern, with acute food insecurity likely to deteriorate further during the outlook period.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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